Since jeep started producing wranglers, they were made to handle tough real-life off-roading conditions with snow and ice being one of them. So, imagining a jeep wrangler in the snow is not a newfound fantasy.
Jeep did a good job by doing this as you don’t find most wrangler owners on paved roads, you are most likely to find them somewhere on a trail in the middle of nowhere flexing their rigs no matter the weather conditions of that particular place and this is what makes jeep wranglers fun to own and drive.
Also, there are a few considerations one should think about before taking out a jeep for serious off-roading, which are car modification components. But a stock jeep is also very capable though it has some letdowns If you ought to do just casual off-roading once in a while. Let’s start with the wheels.
Which wheel drive is best suited in snow?
Jeep also makes 2WD wranglers and these do not perform as well as 4WD wranglers (off-road). Buying a 2WD wrangler means that your vehicle’s off-roading capabilities are limited but you can always decide to turn your 2WD into a 4WD but this is expensive and you’d rather buy a 4WD drive jeep in the first place.
But every potential or current wrangler owner wants a wrangler for his specific reasons, some go for its looks, others just to add it to their collection of cars, and some just for the sake of owning a wrangler.
So, If you are planning to buy a wrangler for the pure purpose of off-roading, my recommendation would be to go for the 4WD as it offers more performance than the 2WD.
Jeep wranglers perform very well in snow and ice especially if the 4WD is engaged. The jeep wrangler also has other factors that make it suitable for driving in wintery conditions.
These factors are listed below:
- Great ground clearance.
- Blind-spot monitoring.
- Four-wheel drive (optional).
- Jeeps are easy to modify.
- Good heating system.
- Selectable lockable differentials.
Great ground clearance
On a standard jeep wrangler, the ground clearance is 8.3 inches. This is the lowest ground clearance you can get in any trim of any jeep wrangler and goes up to 10.0 inches in the jeep wrangler Rubicon trim.
This is a lot of ground clearance compared to other vehicles in its price range. Even the minimum 8.3-inch ground clearance isn’t that bad for off-roading in snow.
Sadly, this feature is only available in higher trims of newer jeep wranglers. Nevertheless, this is one of the features that helps a driver when navigating in winter weather conditions.
Some locations have heavy snow downpours and some cars can be fully submerged in snow and are not visible to the driver, but if your wrangler has a blind spot monitoring system, you’ll be able to detect submerged cars in the snow ant this will help avoid accidents.
Four-wheel drive (optional)
Having a four-wheel-drive jeep is the ultimate choice for a jeep wrangler enthusiast when he/she decides to buy a Wrangler. Not that rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive wranglers can’t handle snow, they can but not as well as four-wheel drive wranglers.
Two-wheel wranglers hardly have grip when being driven on icy surfaces and end up spinning their wheel or just sliding again due to lack of enough grip.
Four-wheel wranglers on the other hand have a better driving experience when driving on ice since all wheels are receiving torque from the engine thus there is traction on all wheels.
Jeeps are easy to modify
If you look at most wranglers, they look different from stock. This is because most wrangler owners add aftermarket components like lift kits with bigger and wider tires to make their cars more capable of handling off-road obstacles while others just go for the looks.
Modifying your Wrangler to tackle winter weather conditions does not require that many modifications, mostly a tire swap and a minimal lift kit would do.
If you are going to keep your stock wrangler tires on you need to inflate them regularly as cold temperatures decrease tire pressure.
Good heating system
Jeep wranglers are known to heat up quickly thus this will keep the driver and passengers warm in winter weather conditions. The thick wrangler doors also act as insulation against the freezing weather outside
Selectable lockable differentials
This feature, like blind-spot monitoring, does not come as standard in all wranglers. This feature is most likely to be found in Rubicon models and gives the vehicle an added advantage over other vehicles in snowy conditions.
Some may wonder how a lockable differential works. A locking differential is a system that allows wheels to rotate at the same speed, so when one wheel loses traction, the other wheels will continue spinning and get the vehicle out of a tricky situation.
When power is sent to all four wheels equally when driving on snow or ice, the vehicle is much stable and is less likely to slide on ice.
All factors explained above make the wrangler one of the best vehicles to be considered by most drivers for driving in winter weather conditions and easily outdoes other vehicles within its price range.
There are some factors one should put into consideration and precautions before taking your Wrangler out for winter driving.
Below are some of the major ones briefly explained:
- Locate where the four-wheel lever is and learn how to use it.
- Equipping your wrangler with the appropriate tires.
- Equipping your wrangler with snow equipment.
- Checking and changing your fluids.
Locate the four-wheel drive lever is
Some beginner wrangler owners have problems driving in snow and this is where the four-wheel-drive feature assists a driver in navigating his vehicle out of thick snow and slippery ice.
This usually happens because they can’t seem to locate the four-wheel-drive lever or simply are unable to engage the four-wheel feature.
To ensure this doesn’t happen a new wrangler owner needs the help of an expert when buying the vehicle in familiarizing himself/herself with all the features of the car as this also a wrangler owner to enjoy the Wrangler’s ability.
Equipping your wrangler with the appropriate tires
Jeep wrangler stock tires aren’t that good in snow. They can take on light snow but not as well as aftermarket snow tires. When choosing snow tires, they should be smaller or the same size compared to the tires that you use during the summer.
Smaller tires have a higher profile and narrower meaning they somehow “cut” through the snow. Bigger tires just push the snow in front of them and end up creating a heap of snow in front of them and cannot climb over the snow.
This means that the driver has to physically remove the snow and you don’t want to get out of your vehicle into the snow. Studded snow tires are the best tires to have on your wrangler especially when driving on icy surfaces.
Studs are small bits of metal tucked into the thread of the tires. Studs can destroy paved roads and some states have limited the use of studs thus you should check on your state’s law on studded tires before putting them on your vehicle.
Tire pressure levels should also be constantly monitored as low temperatures lower tire pressure. As you go driving in winter weather conditions you should always have a portable pump in your vehicle in case there is a decrease in tire pressure.
- Size – 225/65R17
- Rim Size – 17 Inch
- Load Index – 102
- Load Capacity – 1874 Pounds
- Speed Rating – S
- Size – 265/70R17
- Rim Size – 17 Inch
- Load Index – 115
- Load Capacity – 2679 Pounds
- Speed Rating – T
- Size – LT245/75R16
- Rim Size – 16 Inch
- Load Index – 116
- Load Capacity – 2756 Pounds
- Speed Rating – R
Equipping your Wrangler with snow equipment.
Jeep wranglers are very practical and you can play around with the level of modifications that you can do to upgrade your jeep. Some owners go to an extent of adding some extreme components like snowplows.
Some may ask if a jeep wrangler is capable of plowing snow and yes, a jeep wrangler can plow snow but in minimal usage only. You may use a snowplow to clear out your driveway or roads but for short distances only.
Using your jeep for too much snow plowing will overstress your engine and, in the end, you’ll have transmission and axle problems.
An oil cooler must also be put into consideration since you’ll have cooling issues as some snowplows partly block the grill. If you are using an automatic jeep you need to be extra careful so as not to overwork it since automatic transmissions develop issues quickly when snow plowing.
This is because automatic transmissions can not handle as much stress as compared to manual transmissions. Another thing you should take care of is the removable top of your Jeep Wrangler. If your jeep’s top is a hard top make sure to check it for cracks and leakages before the winter season starts.
These leaks and cracks let in cold air and moisture thus your heater will overwork and this causes your vehicle to have a negative fuel economy and continuous moisture and air leaking will cause the top to get damaged even more and, in the end, you’ll have to incur costs when replacing it.
If it’s a fabric top you should consider getting a hardtop as this provides better insulation against freezing weather conditions. Do not attempt to remove this in the winter and this can lead to the window panels getting damaged.
Caring for the external parts of your vehicle is also very important. Parking your Jeep wrangler in an enclosed area is the best way to do this especially if you’ve been out in the snow.
Accumulated chunks of snow easily turn into ice and if your vehicle has chunks of snow in parts like keyholes and that snow ends up turning into ice the keyholes will start rusting and will easily spoil, you’ll have to replace rusted parts if this happens. To prevent this always park your vehicle in an enclosed area at room temperature.
Checking and changing your fluids
When taking your Jeep wrangler in snow and ice you need to consider changing your engine oil especially if you are planning on doing that for a longer time. Normal engine oil freezes quickly and is not recommended for winter weather conditions.
In sub-freezing temperatures, it is recommended to use winter-specific oil as it is less viscous and does not freeze easily, and improves engine performance in winter temperatures.
Wiper fluid should also be changed to specialized winter wiper fluid. This will help in getting snow off your windscreen in case there is a snow shower to maintain visibility.
Some may ask which jeep is best suited for driving in winter conditions. Jeep produced a jeep wrangler polar edition and they made it specifically to withstand very harsh winter conditions like the ones experienced in polar regions.
This trim comes with features like heated seats, automatic climate control, an electronic vehicle information Centre. It comes with a 3.6-liter V6 which produces 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque which is sufficient for tackling severe winter conditions.
The jeep wrangler Rubicon is another top performer when it comes to winter driving. It has features like lockable differentials and a powerful engine that helps it “eat up” the snow.
It has the same 3.6-liter engine that is in the jeep wrangler winter edition. You can have a 3.0-liter diesel that produces 260 horsepower and 422 pound-feet of torque which is insanely powerful.
Jeep wranglers are very capable of tackling harsh winter weather conditions if you follow the above suggestions. But a bone stock jeep wrangler can also handle winter weather conditions but with some little modifications, it can do even better.
A proper garage check by a professional is also recommended to prevent car stalling due to minor issues like battery drainage during the winter season and this usually happens a lot as you need to keep your lights on all-time in winter for clear visibility.
Jeep wranglers were built for such purposes and you should not expect your wrangler to let you down in such situations. Thanks for reading the article, hope you got some idea about Jeep Wrangler in snow.